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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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tivity of labor in many less developed countries is now so low that industries based on it often cannot compete with similar industries in the advanced countries, even when wages are held at a subsistence level.
Control of population growth is one of the instruments available to governments to accomplish other objectives: economic growth and social development of the nation; improvement of the health and welfare of the people, both the living generation and generations to come; and conservation and improvement of the environment, both the natural environment and that created by man.
Progress in economic growth is usually stated in terms of annual rates of increase in the production of goods and services—the gross national product, or GNP—in the productivity of labor and capital, and in production or income per capita—the gross national product or the national income divided by the number of people in the nation. Growth in per capita income, in turn, can be thought of as an index, or surrogate, for rising levels of consumption of food and other goods and services, and improvements from year to year in education, communications, transportation, technology, housing, and other aspects of social development. Equally important as growth in per capita income is a narrowing of the gap between the rich and the poor, a reduction of poverty in absolute terms, and a greater perception, by the people, of equity in income distribution.
There are other kinds of policies that can be useful in attaining these objectives. Because all policies require the allocation of scarce human and physical resources, governments must necessarily strike a balance between them. In different countries this will depend, among other things, on the level of development, the balance between population and resources, political circumstances, and the administrative capacity of the government.
Some policies that affect population growth can also help to attain other social objectives in other ways. These multi-objective policies are desirable for several reasons, among which is the uncertain effectiveness, up to the present, of government policies designed to bring about demographic change. Profound changes in mortality and fertility have occurred in many countries in recent decades, but the quantitative effects of government policy on these changes are difficult to assess.
Policies to Reduce Mortality
Rapid declines in mortality have occurred in many less developed countries since World War II, resulting in a rapid acceleration of rates of population growth. But further declines can be expected to be modest in these